In the Military

Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, July 20, 2003

See also: For Your Benefit


Sullivan to take
command of
Pac Fleet sub force

Rear Adm. Paul F. Sullivan will become the new Pacific Fleet Submarine Force commander on Aug. 7, relieving Rear Adm. John Padgett III. The change of command ceremony will take place aboard the attack submarine USS La Jolla.

In April 2001, Sullivan, now director of the Navy's Submarine Warfare Division, was one of three Navy admirals who sat on a rare Navy court of inquiry, which investigated the collision between the nuclear attack submarine USS Greeneville and the Japanese fisheries training ship Ehime Maru. Nine people were killed in the collision nine miles off of Diamond Head. The skipper of the submarine, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was reprimanded, but allowed to retire with his rank and full military pension.

Padgett, who is retiring, became the 30th flag officer to serve as commander of Pacific Submarine Force in April 2001.

At Hickam, Lt. Gen. Steven R. Polk, vice commander of Pacific Air Forces, has been selected to become the next inspector general of the Air Force. He will be replaced at Hickam by Maj. Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., who is now director of operations at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Renuart has been nominated to receive his third star as a lieutenant general.

The Air Force's demonstration team, "Thunderbirds," will perform two aerial shows over Hickam Air Force Base Aug. 9 and 10. Gates will open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The shows, open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. There also will be a midway of game and food booths, as well as static displays of Air Force warbirds, ranging from B-1B and B-52 bombers to F-15 jet fighters and cargo transports.

The Pacific Stars and Stripes reported Friday that Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, commander of Marine Forces Pacific at Camp Smith, predicts U.S. combat units will remain in Iraq for a year to 18 months.

"Only because of the work that they're doing," said Hailston, who is retiring next month and will be replaced by Marine Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson. "They are the ones training and building an Iraqi self-defense force army" and a police force, as well as constructing essential infrastructure for the Iraqi people, he said.

Hailston said the Corps deployed more than 65,000 Marines and 8,000 sailors for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The eight Marine battalions still in Iraq could start to come home as early as September, Hailston added. He said a Marine rifle company from his command is providing force protection to Maritime Sealift Command ships -- he did not say where -- and two detachments from 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force are supplying tactical air-operation centers in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West, one of four Pacific Fleet submarines that launched missiles into Iraq in March, will return home July 24. Its skipper, Cmdr. Chuck Merkel, is the first submarine commander since World War II to lead his crew in back-to-back combat operations. During the Afghanistan campaign, the Key West was the first warship in the North Arabian Gulf a day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Pacific Stars and Stripes on July 9 reported that Gov. Linda Lingle attended a pig roast and met with soldiers from Hawaii at Camp Zama in Japan. Lingle said Hawaii lawmakers are trying to lure a carrier group to use the state as a home port.

"Hawaii and the military have a long and important history," she said. "We want it to continue. We want it to grow. The American military should make its decisions, and I expect it will, based on the defense of country and our allies. If that is the basis, then I think it makes a lot of sense to bring a carrier group to Hawaii ... because there's so much uncertainty in this part of the world with North Korea and Asia generally."

A possible candidate for Hawaii is the new nuclear-powered carrier expected to replace the USS Kitty Hawk -- the Navy's only forward-deployed carrier -- when it's decommissioned in 2008, the newspaper said. The Kitty Hawk is based in Yokosuka, Japan, but Japan has said it is opposed to hosting a nuclear-powered vessel.

Moving Up

Schofield Barracks

>> Maj. Carter A. Oates has assumed command of the Hawaii Field Office of Criminal Investigation Division, relieving Maj. Randy D. Durian.

>> Lt. Col. Flem B. Walker Jr. has assumed command of the 225th Forward Support Battalion, relieving Lt. Col. Robin J. Stauffer.

>> Lt. Col. Jennifer E. Merkle has assumed command of the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Group, relieving Lt. Col. Christopher L. Winne.

>> Lt. Col. Derek S. Smith has assumed command of the 725th Main Support Battalion, relieving Lt. Col. Michael J. Christian.

Sand Island

>> Rear Adm. Charles Wurster, assistant commandant for acquisition at Coast Guard headquarters, has assumed command of the 14th District, relieving Rear Adm. Ralph Utley.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other
sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached can be reached by phone
at 294-4075 or by e-mail at


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